THE FRONTIERSMAN #2
By William W. Johnstone with J.A. Johnstone
Pinnacle, August 2015
Breck Wallace was turning into a true mountain man on the American frontier. As a teenager in Tennessee he killed in self-defence, then left behind a woman he loved. With a gun and trap lines he is learning how to survive in the Rockies, braving the punishing elements, ruthless outlaws, and forging an uneasy peace with the Indians. But as dangerous as life is, nothing is worse than a powerful man with a murderous grudge. Breckenridge has left two such men in his past – and they both send cold-blooded killers for hire after him. Now the young frontiersman must fight a whole new kind of enemy – armed with his courage, strength, and raw skill with knife and gun…
Although this tale continues storylines begun in the first book you don’t need to have read that earlier publication to enjoy this one. The author includes enough information to fill readers in on what happened before to explain how he met his three fellow trappers and why the killers have been sent after him.
The story is filled with colourful characters such as the two warring men who bring whiskey and women to the rendezvous, which is the major event around which the attempts on Breckenridge’s life will revolve. At first Breck doesn’t realize he is the target and even when he does, he still has to figure out the why. Chapters mainly end on cliff-hangers ensuring the reader will keep turning the pages and they will soon be wondering how Breckenridge can possibly survive with so many people determined to kill him.
There are plenty of savage fights, both with fists and guns, to satisfy all western fans who like their books to be action-packed. The story also contains a few more light-hearted moments mainly in the form of dialogue, especially that of trader Nicodemus Finch.
By books end it does seem as if all the storylines begun in both this novel and the previous one have been tied up neatly and a new future beckons for Breck, but there are more books in this series so it’s doubtful a happy life awaits The Frontiersman, and I for one am looking forward to reading book three as soon as possible.
Fans of Johnstone’s work will be pleased to discover that one of his other long running series heroes appears in this story, but I’ll leave you to read the book and find out who that is yourselves.